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Nov
7
2007

The Gold Glove is a Defensive Award......Right???

yaddi.jpgThe Gold Glove awards were given out yesterday and there is one glaring spot that jumped out at me as soon as I read it. Russell Martin won the Gold Glove as the National League's best DEFENSIVE catcher. My views may be skewed on this topic, but I'm going to come right out and say it. Yadier Molina was screwed over in the Gold Glove balloting. Martin obviously has Yaddi beat in the offensive department, but this award isn't about offense. This is a DEFENSIVE award and Yaddi has that category won in spades. I'm not alone in this thinking either. Bill James and John Dewan are with me and also name Yaddi the best defenesive catcher in MLB. Throw Joe Sheehan in as a supporter as well. Sheehan had this to say on the matter.

“I was floored. We can nitpick some of the other Gold Glove choices, but this one isn’t even a debate. Yadier Molina is the best defensive catcher in Major League Baseball.”

I don't know about you, but I tend to go along with Bill James and Joe Sheehan when it comes to baseball thinking. I'm not saying I follow their ideas like a blind sheep, I'm just saying that they tend to be a couple of the most well respected baseball minds out there.

 The only comprehensible reason for Yaddi not winning this award was due to his time on the DL this year. Let's take a look at the stats to re-inforce just why Yaddi should win. 1) He strikes fear into the hearts of opposing teams (OK, not really a stat, but true nonetheless). 2) Yaddi threw out 50% of base stealers. 3) Led NL catchers in assists per nine innings. 4) Teams only attempted 0.48 SB attempts per 9 against Yaddi in comparison to 0.82 SB attempts per 9 for Martin.

Now a couple of stats to show why Martin did not deserve to win. 1) He threw out only 28.7% of base stealers, allowing 82 in all. 2) He had 14 errors, the most of any NL catcher.

To me, it appears that even if Yaddi did not win the award then someone other than Martin should have won. It just goes to show how important offense is in the game. Martin had a good offensive year and that possibly skewed the voters views for a defensive award.


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12 Comments
Jack Cobra said

I think you have a valid complaint here. If Yaddi were a .280 hitter he would never lose and hitting abilities should never be taken into account.

Yaddi did have a pretty decent offensive season. His best so far. BA - .275 with a .340 OBP.

Another tip of the hat to Yaddi. This one coming from Rob Neyer.

"Oh, and Russell Martin benefited from the same bias. He's not real strong against the running game, but otherwise he's solid. Still, if the evidence exists for his superiority to Yadier Molina, I've not yet seen it. "

Jack Cobra said

I'm not sure if you realized this or not but....Neyer was actually on the committee for the award James gave out, seriously. Of course he's going to go against those guys:

http://www.billjamesonline.net/fieldingbible/the-panel.asp

Also, James didn't vote Molian first, he voted for Joe Mauer...who barely played last season.

http://www.billjamesonline.net/fieldingbible/complete-votetally.asp

This is just a group of ten guys voting...

Bruce said

With rare exceptions(Ozzie and Matheny, for example), over the last 25-30 years, GG have gone to the player with the better offensive numbers. Rafael Palmiero won the GG one year while playing just 26 games at 1B. And Mike Schmidt? C'mon; he was ok, but nowhere near the best. It's all about the offense...

Andy said

agreed. Schmidt beat out Ken Reitz over and over again. Reitz may have been one of the alltime underrated defensive players because he had a mediocre bat.

Dan said

Is this really news to anyone? Every year someone gets snubbed, and every year, the homers complain. It has always been skewed to offensively gifted players. You act like baseball writers are intelligent, and care about being fair.

Flynn said

Hey Dan, basball writers don't vote for Gold Glove awards.

I'm not certain but this has to be one of the most egregious cases of one player winning over another. I think we all understand that offense is for some reason taken into account by the voters, but as you can see by the statistics....it should have been a pretty clear cut win by Molina.

N said

It's the most ridiculous gold glove award I've ever seen. What other player has ever won a gold glove after making the most errors at his position in a season? Just stupid.

The GM said

This happened with Eric Chavez and Joe Crede two years ago. Crede had the better defensive stats, by far, but Chavez was the flashier of the two and his offensive numbers were better. Ozzie Guillen complained about it, like everything else, but this time he actually had a valid argument.

I'm a fan of Chavez, but Crede did deserve it for his superior defense that season.

Alicia said

Martin's errors were the highest in the NL because he played more games than any other catcher, 47 more than Yadier, and 392.2 more innings than Yadier too. He also had more put outs per total chances. And a range factor WAY above Yadier's. In terms of fielding percentage, Martin's .988 isn't much less than Yadier's .991. Martin had 85 assists and Yadier had 63. Also, even while the Dodgers had better pitching, their staff still had more wild pitches than the Cardinals. Martin also led the league in double plays. In fact, he lead the NL in the following categories:

- games
- games started
- innings
- total chances
- put outs
- assists
- double plays
- range factor (his was 8.25, the lgRFg this year for catchers was 6.51)

Here's my source (mlb.com).

This compares Martin to Yadier.

And if all that doesn't convince you that Martin was worthy of a Gold Glove, factor in that he played 145 games as catcher, starting in all but 2 of them. The next catcher with the most games was Brian McCann with 132. It is tough for a catcher to play that often, especially on day games when your starter should be getting some rest, but Martin was out there in the heat catching all the time. 47 games is a LOT for a catcher, and it can wear you down, I'd imagine. I don't see anything too significant that makes Yadier more likely to win this award, when he only played 2/3 of the season.

Further, just because Yadier had a better CS%, doesn't make his 27 CS more important than Martin's 41. You have to factor in his defensive replacement value.


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